Some of this and some of that

These girls love playing with these masks. I'm sure they would love to go to a masked ball some day. 
Sonora is now starting to play "pretend" with the older girls instead of just destroying everything. This makes it more fun for her and for Rita and Hazel as they teach her how to play.
Dusty is a great wrestling coach, but even better he is a great dad. Phillip enjoyed wrestling in a tournament yesterday. He pinned four of his opponents and won by points in his final match. While he is still undecided about if he would like to play basketball in high school or wrestle, he is a strong boy with a deep love for sports.
For Cub Scout pack meeting this month we decided to visit residents of a local retirement home and make gingerbread houses with them. What a sweet (in more than one way) activity this was. The residents were so happy to be around the young kids and the kids were great with the residents. 
One gal, Edna, said she just came to watch because her hands were too arthritic to handle the small candies for decorating the houses. So Rita became her hands and together they built a beautiful house and memories. 
Our annual wrestling team dinner. It’s amazing how many teenagers can fit into our living room. It’s one of our favorite traditions! Four hams, five pans of funeral potatoes, two large pots of green beans, 75 rolls (we definitely need more of those next year), 100 sugar cookies and a white elephant gift exchange made for an eventful, but awesome evening.
Scouting for Food this morning with our Cub Scout Pack and local Fire Department. Serving others as the Savior does, by giving of ourselves and especially our time, brings hope to others and great meaning to our own lives. 



Some things bring an immediate smile to my face. My kids, seeing Dusty when he comes home from work, and flowers. I love flowers!
We ventured out to the tulip fields today to take in their beauty and color. Hazel loved tromping through the mud puddles and I enjoyed the almost empty fields (due to the rain).
Early this morning I called Grandma to see if she could still go to the tulips fields with us. She said yes and that she was trying to convince Grandpa to come see the fields too. So Hazel worked her granddaughter, cuteness magic and asked Papa over the phone: "Do you want to go see the tulips with me?" Well, who can say no to that? So we enjoyed the outing with him too.
This picture makes my soul soar and my heart rejoice and exclaim "How Great Thou Art!"... all the colors and people I love.
After our outing Sonora filled my soul even more by just laying on my shoulder cuddling for over ten minutes. I cannot remember any of my other babies doing this at her age. I soaked it up for as long as she would let me.

Easter Photo Shoot

Knowing that we have Church at 8 am on Easter, I decided to do a family photo shoot Saturday morning with everyone in their Easter outfits. To try an accommodate Sonora's sleeping schedule, we all got up at 6:30 am so we could be ready by 8 am to start. Thankfully we had dry weather, a nice change from all the rain and hail we have had this Spring. Here are some of my favorites.
 Trying to get everyone to look at the camera all at the same time is sure challenging.
It was still a bit chilly that early in the morning but the kids had pretty good attitudes.
It's amazing that two very individual and unique people can come together and create such a beautiful family. I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation and the promise of eternal families.
 I was really hoping that we could capture Sonora's huge smile, but she was a little timid this morning.
Yet, even without her full mouth smile she is a beautiful girl.
Phillip is growing up to be a great young man. He is really starting to figure out how to deal with his fiery temper and strong will and impresses us with his tenderness with Sonora and his drive to work.
Karl tries to make us laugh often with his outlandish ideas and jokes. Another doting brother for Sonora to be spoiled by.
This picture captures Hazel's personality so well. Happy and cheerful, while mischievous and determined. So much all bundled up into a four year old girl!
It's hard to get Rita to hold still long enough to capture a good photo of her. She's always looking elsewhere, anxious to move onto the next story she wants to write or project she wants to create. Her mind is racing a million miles an hour all the time and her little body tries to keep up. Watching her bee-bop around the house and yard with endless creativity is a favorite activity of mine.
The other day Rita asked me what my favorite number was. I thought about it for a second and then said "five." Five because I have five beautiful kids that I love and adore every single day.

My Sunshsine

Our nicknames for Sonora are Sunshine and Sunny. She has truly brought a lot of light into our lives. Her calm and peaceful temperament along with her quick smile have been a source of constant joy to all of us. Just today she started laughing when Hazel and I played peek-a-boo with her. And of course Hazel and I enjoyed every moment of making her giggle.
We introduced rice cereal to Sonora this week. It's going to take some time before she actually likes it. As of right now it's one scoop goes in and one scoop comes right back out. The older kids find it absolutely hilarious.
And Sunny doesn't mind the extra attention at all!

More Than It Looks Like

Sometimes we look at a picture and think that we know exactly what has happened. To most, it looks like I've left my slippers lying in the hall. But in reality, these slippers and their location represent a whole lot more than that to me. 
You see, Hazel has a strong personality and is a determined soul. Right now, she is determined to no longer take naps. While I still think she could use a rest, I can roll with the punches and am trying to transition her from nap time to quiet time. But Hazel is determined to not do quiet time either. After much struggle and finally getting her to settle down after throwing a massive tantrum and me standing by the door for 15 minutes so she wouldn't leave, I determined to try my hand at trickery. I slipped out of my slippers and left them at the door so I could go fold the rest of the laundry I had hoped to peacefully fold. That way when she looked under the door she would think that I was still standing there. Yeah, it was only a good idea in my mind. She figured it out after only a few short minutes. So I finished out quiet time sitting by the door, reading 1 Nephi 3 on my phone and praying for patience because sometimes it is really hard to be patient as a mom.